Less than three days after a military helicopter on surveillance mission crashed in Damare, a suburb of Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa state, another chopper believed to belong to the Nigerian Air Force has gone down around the same area.
Multiple sources in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday night that another military helicopter crashed around 9 p.m Thursday around the surroundings of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology [MAUTECH] in Girei Local Government Area of the state.
“It is true a helicopter just crashed near MAUTECH at around 9:30 pm. There were actually two of them flying beside each other and when one crashed, the other one turned back,” said a Yola resident who simply gave his name as Dan Asabe.
A student of MAUTECH, Abdulrahman Shehu, told PREMIUM TIMES he saw the helicopter go down.
Mr. Shehu said Thursday night, “We came out of our hostel when we heard the sound of choppers and noticed that there were two of them flying in the dark without lights on.
“Suddenly one of them went down and exploded with a deafening sound. Immediately that happened the other one turned back and left. Obviously there were explosives inside the chopper because intermittent explosions followed the fall of the helicopter creating a huge fire blast.
“Even as we speak, you can see the huge fire blazing from our hostel, although the explosions have abated a little.
“Another chopper came but could not land near the fallen chopper and Soldiers have already come with ambulances and headed to the crash site which is not more than two kilometres from our school.”
The spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, Dele Alonge, an Air Commodore, confirmed the incident, but said details were still sketchy.
“Once we get all the facts, we will come out with a release on the incident,” Mr. Alonge said. “But one thing is clear, the helicopter did not come under enemy fire. It has nothing to do with the enemy.”
Another chopper on surveillance mission had on Monday crashed at Damare also in Girei Local Government.
The defence Headquarters later confirmed the crash saying however that no one died in the incident.
News of the latest helicopter crash came about two months after a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet, went missing during routine operations in the northern part of Adamawa State.
The Nigerian Air Force aircraft went missing on September 12.
The aircraft, an Alpha Jet (NAF 466) was involved in the counter insurgency operation against the extremist Boko Haram sect.
The whereabouts of the missing Alpha Jet had become a subject of conjectures following the inability of the Nigeria Air Force to tell Nigerians what actually happened to the fighter jet.
Boko Haram insurgents later claimed shooting the aircraft down in a video in which they appeared to slaughter one of the pilots of the missing jet.
But last week, local fishermen claimed they found wreckages of the jet in the River Benue.
The fishermen said they found the aircraft at Kwa Ine Village, Demsa Local Government, about 50 kilometers away from Yola, the Adamawa state capital.